Radio MicrophoneWASHINGTON, D.C. (October 30, 2014):  The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) yesterday closed on the sale of Detroit radio station WDTW (AM) to Hispanic entrepreneur Pedro Zamora, making him the first full market Hispanic broadcaster serving all of Detroit and its suburbs.

Other radio station transactions MMTC closed this year include KFXN (AM) in Minneapolis to Asian American Broadcasting LLC, making possible the first station serving the area’s local Hmong (Laotian) community, and KWOD (now KZZD AM) in Salem, Oregon, to Hispanic entrepreneur Ed Distell. [click to continue…]

Dark ComputerAccording to a report issued this month by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), broadband is almost fully deployed in the U.S. Specifically, the report found that “when combined with advances in mobile Internet connectivity, some form of broadband, whether fixed or mobile is now available to 99 percent of the U.S. population.” Implicit in this finding is an assumption that the digital divide, a phrase used to illustrate disparities in broadband access and adoption, is finally being narrowed in terms of access to broadband networks. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go to narrow the divide when it comes to the adoption of broadband.

NTIA’s data accurately notes healthy progress in broadband adoption – from 4 percent in 2000 to 72 percent in 2012, and a remarkable three percentage point increase between 2011 and 2012 – but the report also illustrates continuing digital disparities, particularly among certain demographic and socioeconomic groups.  [click to continue…]

This article was originally published in The Free State Foundation.

Computer Keyboard Proactive ReactiveOn September 18, 2008, I was very proud to provide opening remarks at the first Summit on Pandemic Preparedness. It wasn’t held at the CDC, it was held at the FCC with a huge cross-section of first responders, communications entities, and healthcare professionals. I was so proud to have had a part in focusing on the importance of the communications/media sector in discussing and planning for the potential of a “pandemic” – something most Americans had not yet focused on. In my remarks, I stated:

“As compared to hurricanes, pandemics pose unique communications challenges. Instead of fleeing from a city with severely damaged communications capabilities, in a pandemic our citizens may be sheltering at home, trying to stay in touch with their friends and family and even working – with the possibility that half the workforce will be working remotely – this will place significant demands on an undamaged but nonetheless over-burdened communications network.  How we plan for and respond to such an emergency requires creative thinking by government and industry health and network engineers, which is why I’m pleased to see so many experts here from such a cross-section of genres.”

Thus, today, from my perch as Citizen Tate, I am extremely concerned about the leadership in our present Ebola crisis. [click to continue…]

NTIA released the following statement on October 16, 2014, announcing the findings in its “Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet” report.

NTIA Mobile Internet ReportWASHINGTON – A report released today by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) found that Americans are rapidly embracing mobile Internet devices such as smart phones and tablet computers for a wide range of activities beyond just voice communications, such as checking email and using social networks.

NTIA’s “Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet,” which is based on a U.S. Census Bureau survey in October 2012 of more than 53,000 households, found that Americans were increasingly using their mobile devices to engage in applications that they might have previously done on a desktop or laptop computer or not at all. Between July 2011 and October 2012, the report found big increases in mobile phone users 25 and older who used their devices to download mobile applications (22 percent to 32 percent), browse the Web (33 percent to 42 percent), check their email (33 percent to 43 percent), and use social networks (22 percent to 30 percent). [click to continue…]

Net Neutrality Question Marks - by Marcella Gadson

 

 

Last week, the Society of Professional Journalists hosted a discussion on “Why Media Should Care about Net Neutrality,” co-sponsored by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A panel of experts discussed the importance of net neutrality to journalists, how accurately media have covered the issue, and whether the issue is related to the First Amendment or free speech. Among many salient points made, there were two main takeaways: (1) It is imperative for the media to get it right when discussing net neutrality, and (2) The majority of the media don’t get it right. [click to continue…]

The following article originally appeared in The Hill.

FCC Net NeutralityIn the decades-long struggle for civil rights, the movement has focused on different Washington institutions, from Congress to the White House to the Supreme Court.  This summer, part of the battle moved to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The critical question now facing the FCC is how to preserve the open Internet while continuing to expand opportunity and bring the transformative benefits of broadband technology to all Americans, including communities of color.

Today, there are no binding rules requiring the broadband industry to keep the Internet open and free, thus making it critical for the FCC to act quickly.  Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not be able to block, degrade or slow down access to any website or service, or otherwise create “fast lane” sweetheart deals that favor a few at the expense of most.  [click to continue…]

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean.

Commissioners Clyburn and TateIf politics makes strange bedfellows, then Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and I must be a very odd couple.

One black, one white; one Republican, one Democrat. Yet, we forged a unique, bipartisan and loyal friendship in today’s often vitriolic political atmosphere. In fact, our first collaboration began when, as chairs of our respective state public utility commissions, we dealt with rising home energy costs, the explosion of mobile devices, and the convergence of communications and the Internet.

As the Washington action co-chairs for our national association, we were two outspoken Southern women with a heart for the consumer and a strong belief that Washington didn’t have all the answers. We had both experienced the first wave of being professional women in a largely “man’s world;” Mignon in the newspaper business, and me as an attorney. And we would both become presidential appointees to the FCC. [click to continue…]

This month, MMTC Research Director DeVan Hankerson spoke at the National Action Network on “Creating Pathways to Higher Education and Career Service.” With other panelists, DeVan discussed inequality in broadband access in schools and how technology is changing career options, education, and skills preparation for students. We present her remarks in a two-part series highlighting the skills shortage in the U.S. and the dearth of minority students and employees in STEM fields.

Boy on Computer - LEAD CommissionFrom smartphones to social media, people of color are the fastest-growing group of new technology users. Experts have reported that people of color are more likely than whites to use that technology to keep up with what’s happening in their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, how people use technology does not equate to mastery.

One of the challenges to increasing mastery of new technology is making sure that the push toward inclusion and training is not limited to offering schools access to gadgets and tools. It must also include meaningful ways to expand the aspirations of young minority students to include career as technology innovators and as knowledge workers in technology development. [click to continue…]

Prison BarsWASHINGTON, D.C. (October 17, 2014):  The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) applauds today’s FCC decision to expand upon its reforms of the high cost of phone calls for incarcerated individuals.

Last year, MMTC, along with other consumer and civil rights organizations, endorsed the 2003 Wright Petition seeking FCC action to proscribe excessive inmate calling rates. We applauded the Commission then for capping the rates of interstate inmate calling rates, and laud today’s efforts to adopt a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks additional comment on further ways to constrain and ultimately eliminate predatory costs associated with inmate calling services.  [click to continue…]

SNL Kagan 2014 Multichannel SummitJoin SNL Kagan for a full day of networking and interactive panels at this year’s Multichannel Summit in New York! The Multichannel Summit, now in its fifth year, brings together the industry’s top executives to discuss the most compelling topics. Over 20 industry experts and thought leaders will cover topics such as industry M&A, the latest trends in TV Everywhere, and the viewing habits of Millennials.

MMTC members and friends can enjoy a $200 discount for the event by entering the code MMTC2014 on the registration page. [click to continue…]